What Really Happened on Steven Slater's JetBlue Flight?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

"Flight Attendant Gone Wild" Steven Slater is out of jail and back home in New York, where he got a hero's welcome after making bail Tuesday night. New details are coming out that could help explain his already notorious outburst.


After his JetBlue flight landed on Monday at Kennedy Airport, Slater got on the intercom, cursed at a passenger, grabbed a couple of beers and activated the emergency chute, sliding his way off the plane.

But his lawyer is expanding on that story. The trouble apparently began before the flight even left Pittsburgh. Attorney Howard Turman said two women were arguing over overhead space. Slater came over to diffuse the situation.

He found that one of the women had two bags, one of which was too large to fit -- which, according to Turman, is Slater's pet peeve. Slater told her it would have to be checked.

She then flipped out and began cursing at Slater, at one point slamming the overhead bin door down on his head, Turman said. Indeed, Slater emerged from jail with a bruise on his forehead that he called "aviation-related."

The woman's bag was ultimately checked, and she never apologized for her actions.

Once the plane touched down at JFK, the same passenger got up and tried to take her bag down from the overheard compartment before the pilots gave the go-ahead to stand.

When Slater confronted her, Turman said she cursed at him, demanding to get her checked bag back immediately.

That's when Slater went wild.

"I got on the microphone and said, 'To those who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for a great ride,' " Slater said, according to the court complaint.

That's a much more civil version of the words that police and passengers said Slater uttered.

Either way, Slater is charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing -- charges to which he pleaded not guilty.

Slater is becoming a folk hero of sorts, with people admiring his "take this job and shove it" attitude. A Facebook page devoted to him now has nearly 124,000 fans at last count. That is sure to rise -- at the same time the previous day, he had 25,000.

Slater seems to be enjoying his new-found fame. "It's been a good time," he said as he walked out of jail, as people shouted "You're a hero."